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Pontillo's

November 28, 2008 - 1:46pm
posted by Brian Hillabush in batavia, Daily News, Pontillo's.

 The big news of the day Friday is on A-3 as Sam Pontillo tells Daily News reporter Joanne Beck that the Main Street Batavia Pontillo's pizzeria is unlikely to reopen soon.

The Daily News originally reported that the restaurant was shut down for renovations before The Batavian reported that the reason was $112,000 in back taxes. Pontillo talked with Beck a couple of days later and revealed a messy situation with the family, causing the restaurant to close because of the tax situation.

Originally Pontillo said that the pizzeria would reopen in a couple of weeks, but now says it is not going to happen because he feels that when he obtains the business from the family estate that there will be a lot of work that will actually have to be done before he can open the doors.

"I'm wondering, 'should I tear the building down and build a new one?'," Pontillo told Beck on Wednesday. "I need to decide that before I put some big money into the (current) building. I want to take the proper course of action. I'm still up in the air, I'm trying to get the estate settled, I'm working the numbers. No one wants to put money into a property they don't own."

Pontillo also says he has had preliminary talks with an architect to redesign the restaurant and has no intentions on keeping Pontillo's closed. He did tell Beck that if a "a big-monied drug store came along and made a generous offer to buy, he would consider it."

The Le Roy branch of Pontillo's is still open and the Batavia site has a sign saying Pontillo's is open for delivery.

The Batavian called the number on the sign (343-3303) at about 1:15 p.m. Friday and spoke with a woman named Maddy, who says that orders can be placed and will be delivered from the Le Roy restaurant to Batavia on Thursday through Sunday nights after 4 p.m. She says the full menu is available.

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Daily News reporter Tom Rivers handled the yearly Black Friday story and spoke with some shoppers that got up early to bargain hunt at Wal-Mart and Target.

Even with the current state of the economy, the stores were packed this morning. Rivers writes "The line (at Target) stretched for at least 500 people, extending to Bed Bath & Beyond.

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An inmate at the Genesee County Jail has been charged for a seven-year-old burglary in Le Roy, thanks to a DNA link writes reporter Scott DeSmit.

Genesee County sheriff investigator Timothy Weis tells DeSmit that 24-year-old Nick A. Hawkins was charged Tuesday with third-degree burglary for a Dec. 28, 2001 robbery at Frost Ridge Campground in Le Roy.

DNA submitted by Hawkins because he was a convicted felon matched blood taken from the crime scene, according to Weis.

Hawkins is the second person charged in the crime as Christopher D. Nolan was arrensted and charged in July 2002. He received five years probation and had to pay restitution. 

As always, we encourage you to pick up a copy of the Daily News at your local newsstand. Or, better yet, subscribe at BataviaNews.com.

November 20, 2008 - 5:14pm
posted by Philip Anselmo in batavia, restaurants, business, downtown, Pontillo's.

There's still no word yet on when Pontillo's restaurant in Batavia will reopen its dining room, and no one has yet come forward with information regarding the lawsuit between the brothers. But some good news has graced the sign in the parking lot out front of the Main Street restaurant:

Also, a truck has been spotted out back of the restaurant on several occasions over the past week. Renovations?

November 13, 2008 - 8:24am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Pontillo's.

Last night, CBS News reported (watch the video above) that contrary to promises from Congress, that $700 billion bailout for the nation's biggest banks, the bailout intended to help banks get toxic loans off their books and to kick-start new borrowing and stimulate the economy -- well, nobody really knows how the banks are using the money.

Congress, in its rush to ram this legislation through, didn't require a stitch of regulatory oversight.  And the banks obstinately told CBS: "We don't have to tell you what we're doing with that money."

Meanwhile, it's been reported elsewhere -- as CBS refers to the reports -- that some of the banks are using taxpayer money to go on buying sprees, acquiring smaller banks and making themselves bigger.

That isn't what Congress promised us would happen with our money.

Meanwhile, one of our own businesses -- Pontillo's Pizzeria -- is clearly having its own financial struggles.  The venerable Main Street eatery is more than $112,000 behind in taxes. The family is involved in a messy lawsuit. It's currently shut down, reportedly for renovations, but the signs are clearly troubling.

We don't see Henry Paulson rushing to Batavia to help out John, Paul and Sam, but his fat-cat buddies on Wall Street are doing just fine.

The situation with Pontillo's is important, and as much as some people might like to see the news of the restaurant's struggles swept under the rug, it isn't going to help Pontillo's or the community to hide from these issues.

What's going on with Pontillo's has a ripple effect throughout Genesee County -- the restaurant employed local people who spent some portion of their revenue locally, and paid rent to local landlords, and the restaurant did business in some degree with local suppliers, and all of those people are affected, too.

Clearly, the situation is heartbreaking for all the people who grew up with Pontillo's, either as former employees or loyal customers.

Some people do what to know what's going on not merely for curiosity's sake, but because they care. This situation effects more than just one family. It effects the entire community.

 

Which brings us back to the bailout. 

Where is the bailout for Pontillo's?  Congress talked a lot about how what happens on Wall Street effects Main Street. So far, we're not seeing the connection.

Some of these banks that received cash from Congress have branches in Genesee County. Wouldn't it be appropriate for one of those branch managers to step forward and ask the Pontillos how they can help?

We're not holding our breath, but we are wishing the Pontillos well. We do want to see them pull out of this. When Pontillo's reopens, it should be a big community event.

November 12, 2008 - 1:00pm
posted by Philip Anselmo in batavia, restaurants, business, downtown, finance, Le Roy, Pontillo's.

Last week, The Batavian reported that Pontillo's Pizzeria owed in excess of $112,000 in state taxes. That report came on the heels of an article in the Daily News in which Sam Pontillo claimed that he closed the restaurant in order to make renovations and officially purchase the property. A second article appeared in the Daily a couple days after our post that further confounded an already ambiguous story. Since then, more information has become available that may help us to ask some better questions in the hopes of getting some better answers.

On October 31, a civil suit was filed in Genesee County in which all three Pontillo brothers were named. That suit was brought by Buffalo attorneys Amigone, Sanchez, Mattrey & Marshall LLP on behalf of the plaintiff: John Pontillo. Listed as defendants in that case are: Sam, Paul and Salvatore Pontillo. No other details of the case were available at the Office of the Genesee County Clerk, and we have so far been unable to contact any of the brothers. We had left messages for Sam Pontillo last week that were never returned.

A week later, on November 7, a mechanic's lien was filed with the county by Roy H. Turnbull Inc. againt the estate of Elizabeth Pontillo and Pontillo's Batavia Pizzeria Inc. in the amount of $1,181.29. No specifics were listed in the record.

Those are the most recent facts. A search earlier today revealed no new filings with the county. Let us now take a moment to review the news as it was reported in the Daily. We feel that there are some contradictions and ambiguities that may help to shed some light on the situation.

From the first article, which appeared on November 4:

(Sam) Pontillo was advised that it would be better to just close the shop down and then re-open under new ownership. He regrets that he had to cancel a pre-election night party ... But he had no choice, Pontillo said. He was told that renovations were to happen now.

Firstly, who "advised" Sam Pontillo to close and "told" him that renovations had to "happen now"? In the same article, Beck writes that: "Sam has been on site running the Batavia and Le Roy operations the last several years." So if he's running the place, who is telling him to close it? Secondly, what are these renovations that they cannot be postponed even a single day so that the restaurant could cater a local party?

What's most confusing, however, is that in this first article, Sam Pontillo claims responsibility for both operations, in Le Roy and in Batavia. He would have to be running the place in order to make the decision to close it down, right? But in the article that appeared in the Daily on November 7—after The Batavian broke the news that the Batavia restaurant owed some $112,000 in unpaid taxes to the state—Sam Pontillo is quoted as saying: "I was locked out of the whole operation. John and Paul worked there (in Batavia). John was operations manager." Doesn't that contradict the claim in the previous article that Sam has been running the place for "years"?

Joanne Beck writes:

It was only after (Sam Pontillo) started the paperwork to buy the city property that Sam Pontillo became fully aware of the tax situation, he said. He doesn't dispute that tax warrants have been filed by the state Finance Department and Genesee County Clerk's office against the family business, which includes Pontillo's Batavia Pizzeria, Inc. and Sam's Tomato Pies, Inc.

But he doesn't claim them as his, either. The business is still owned by his mother and was not run by Sam, he said.

What!? Does Sam Pontillo run the business or not? What does it mean to be "fully aware"? Could he have been "partially" aware? What would that have signified? How can Sam not claim the tax warrants filed against Sam's Tomato Pies?

It is also reported in the most recent Daily News article that: "Genesee County records did not show any outstanding tax warrants on the Le Roy Pontillo's." That's true. As Sam Pontillo himself says of the Le Roy location: "I don't owe one cent for this place."

But Pontillo's Le Roy Pizzeria Inc. has been named in a civil suit filed by the Workers' Compensation Board of the State of New York that was filed on October 20. The Board also filed a money judgement in the amount of $1,250 against the Le Roy operation. As for any outstanding tax warrants, there are none. Pontillo's Le Roy Pizzeria Inc. was, however, served with a tax warrant by the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance in the amount of $700.63 in November, 2007. That was paid.

All in all, there are more questions than answers at this point, and I have yet to see a single car parked at the Batavia Pontillo's, which is supposed to be undergoing renovations right now. I guess we ought to take Sam Pontillo at his word when he says: "The remodeling won't be an obvious change that patrons will notice."

November 5, 2008 - 4:22pm
posted by Philip Anselmo in batavia, restaurants, business, finance, Pontillo's.

Monday morning, Pontillo's restaurant in Batavia closed up shop temporarily for renovations. "It's all good," owner Sam Pontillo told Daily News reporter Joanne Beck. In that article, which appeared in the Tuesday edition of the Daily, Beck wrote that Pontillo "expects to re-open ... within a couple of weeks."

One has to wonder if that's really the case. Owing to an anonymous tip, The Batavian has learned that "Pontillo's Pizzeria" in Batavia owes more than $112,000 in unpaid taxes to the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance. In an attempt to collect those funds, the state department has issued six tax warrants to "Pontillo's Batavia Pizzeria Inc." totalling $58,379. Another roughly $53,000 in unpaid taxes were the subject of warrants issued to other "trade" names of Pontillo's.

Finance Department Spokesperson Susan Burns:

"Generally, the tax department tries to work with the taxpayer and work on some sort of negotiated settlement in order to satisfy those warrants. Generally we like to see everything come to a positive outcome, and that's generally what happens in these situations. Sometimes, is there a time when a business is seized? Yes, that happens also."

No seizure of property has yet been made by the state, however, Burns said. Pontillo's is not faced with any deadline when the taxes must be paid. Burns stressed that the department does its best to negotiate a settlement before it comes to legal seizures.

In a records search at the Office of the Genesee County Clerk, The Batavian turned up six tax warrants issued to Pontillo's Batavia Pizzeria Inc. Two of those were for withholding tax, three for sales tax and one for corporate tax, explained Burns. They were issued between March 28 and October 17, of this year. All are still outstanding.

In addition to these, we discovered another tax warrant issued to "Sam's Tomato Pies Inc." and "Pontillo's Pizza" in the amount of $36,117.80. Another warrant in the amount of $17,585.03 was issued to "Pontillo's Pizzeria." Burns explained that "Pontillo's Batavia Pizzeria Inc." has been trading under the name "Sam's Tomato Pies Inc." for about a year or so now. Pontillo's Pizzeria is the sort of general rubric that comprises the Batavia Pizzeria Inc. and Sam's Tomato Pies. That entity is responsible for all of the owed taxes listed under all three "trade" names, which amounts to more than $112,000.

A warrant was also issued to Pontillo's Batavia Pizzeria Inc. by the New York State Department of Labor in the amount of $1,640.92. The Workers' Compensation Board of the State of New York has also filed a judgment in the amount of $1,250, in addition to a civil suit filed with the state's Supreme Court.

Whether this is related to the recent closure of Pontillo's, we cannot say. The Batavian tried to contact Sam Pontillo earlier today. We left a message at the Pontillo's restaurant in Le Roy at 3:30pm. We also tried a telephone number listed for John Pontillo in the Batavia phone book, but that was disconnected.

November 4, 2008 - 1:32pm
posted by Philip Anselmo in Daily News, business, Pontillo's.

Pontillo's closed Monday morning and will remain that way for a couple of weeks or more, according to the Daily News. The restaurant will undergo renovations in that time.

In other news, the city school district—along with others all over the state—have been warned "to brace themselves about future state aid," according to Pat Burk, Batavia's Board of Education president. More info should become available in a couple weeks.

We encourage you to pick up a copy of the Daily News at your local newsstand. Or, better yet, subscribe at BataviaNews.com.

October 8, 2008 - 10:37am
posted by Melissa George in Announcements, jaycees, parade, Halloween, Pontillo's, Olivers, Youth Bureau.

16th Annual Halloween Parade!

Sponsored by Pontillo's Pizzeria, The Batavia Area Jaycees, Batavia Youth Bureau, Big Buddy, and Oliver's Candies.

SUNDAY - OCTOBER 26, 2008

Line forms at 12:45pm on the West Side of the Genesee Country Mall/City Centre, near Dan's Tire.

Small Children MUST BE ACCOMPANIED BY AN ADULT
~Wagons/Sleds strongly suggested~

Parade will begin at 1:00pm
**no rain date - listen to WBTA 1490AM for cancellations by 11:30am

NEW: The first 100 Children (10 and under) in COSTUME ONLY will receive a special free gift!

Slice of Pizza and Cider for kids (IN COSTUME ONLY) at end of parade compliments of Pontillo's Pizzeria

For more information call 345-6420.

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